Simms' City: Attenborough, Heston and defying dry January


Social butterfly Freya Simms gives us the lowdown on London’s happening spots this week

So the New Year has started with more of a bang than the annual whimper I often associate with the art world when it limps back into action. This year seems to have begun at full pelt with gallery events, exhibitions and auctions all doing their best peacock impressions.

First off the block was a lunch at the Wolesely – that as usual was packed and with restricted timeslots despite only being the first few days of January! I was meeting Daniel Crouch the book and map dealer/alchemist that turns charts and maps into cartoporn with his exceptional stock and deft storytelling. He has curated a show of rare and important maps, charts and manuscripts all pertaining to Scotland and the Scots for the Caledonian Club, timed to coincide with its Burns celebrations. Members are in for a treat as the British Library are also offering a glimpse of The King’s Topographical Collection – an extraordinary collection put together by King George III and including survivors from British sovereigns dating back to the 1660s.

Freya Simms - map

En route back to the office I popped into Osborne Samuel’s gallery in Bruton Street that currently has a show by mesmerising photographer Tim Flach. If you are currently glued to Attenborough’s Africa in HD then catch the show before it goes. The images are extraordinary, monumental and delightful at the same time.

Osborne Samuel’s gallery

A few days later we were off to the Hind’s Head in Bray for a family lunch – a delightful way to while away one of the endless grey days we seem to have recently been subjected to! This is Heston Blumenthal’s pub venture and really is delicious in every detail from the Bloody Mary with the entire condiments fresh and perching ready to be mixed in through to a mouth-watering treacle tart not to mention the main course. The veal sounds simple, but is delicious. All the dishes were delicious and resolutely unpretentious. There was much sharing of spoons and proffering mouthfuls across the table. Pace yourself and try and sample the bar snacks too!

The final excitement of the month was meeting Narda in the newly refurbished Electric House. The Soho House group really have found their groove in delivering relaxed luxury that is welcoming, cosy that definitely discourages any whims of a dry January! The cinema, brasserie – now diner – and private members club were subject to a fire last year, but now are back and lovelier than ever.

Electric House

The Electic House, Soho

Freya Simms is managing director of Gong Muse a Strategic Communications agency for the art and luxury markets and winner of PRCA Agency Campaign of the year 2011.